Women's Month: Focus on Ms Kate Nkau
Q: Job title and in which department/research entity do you work?
Departmental Administrator in the Department of Animal Science, Kate recently completed a postgraduate diploma in Communication Management.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career?
A: - Broad scope of responsibility
The position requires you to wear many hats. Administrative professionals are typically in charge of tasks such as: Firstly, coordinating and organising meetings and other forms of communication, and secondly, ongoing planning within your department and other departments in the organisation. Last but not least, managing resources, including staff, funds, goods and equipment. With so much to do to keep the department afloat, you will never experience the same day twice.
- An autonomous environment
You are required to work independently and complete a variety of responsibilities. You must create your own system for managing and completing work as long as the ultimate result fits your superiors' expectations. Essentially your supervisors don't have the time to set out an exact process for performing each of your needed activities. The essence of working in administration is that your supervisors intrinsically want you to work independently. While you will be expected to complete these duties in their entirety, the method you do so will usually be up to you.
- Relationships building
Working as an administrator requires you to communicate, collaborate and connect with a wide variety of stakeholders within the organisation. Since one of the main goals of administration is keeping everyone aligned and on the same page, you are responsible for creating and maintaining lines of communication in the institution.
Q: What inspires you?
A: As I am counting down my 61st birthday, I think life is good. Sitting at home with my family gathered around, eating good food and talking or playing games. I find the trait of gratitude in others to be an exquisite quality. For example, I love when people give that standard open-palm hand acknowledgement when you let them merge into your lane. That simple gesture of gratitude makes me smile. Likewise, I feel gratitude when I prepare a meal for the family, and they indulge with appreciation.
Q: What challenges have you experienced in your career?
A: Multitasking, problem-solving and learning to prioritise tasks takes experience and can be stressful. As a support function, you literarily get instruction from multiple supervisors in various facets of the department who expect you to deliver professional outcomes. You cannot make significant decisions or manage the admiration independently
Q: What message do you have for the youth of South Africa?
A: You were sent into the world for a greater purpose, and the purpose is held within you with a deeper intelligence called KNOWLEDGE. It is beyond your fears and desires. It is waiting to be discovered.